And The Next Big Villain in 'The Avengers' Is None Other Than...

[caption id="attachment_48366" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Getty Images"]Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo at Comic-Con 2010[/caption]

Superheroes are cool, but let's face it, it's usually the supervillain that makes or breaks a comic book movie. Whether it's Heath Ledger's Joker in "The Dark Knight," Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane in "Iron Man" or Gene Hackman's take on Lex Luthor in "Superman," all of the greatest superhero films can boast a great villain.

Which is why we're so stoked about today's "Avengers" news, because it turns out that the supervillain set to menace Marvel's mightiest heroes is none other than...

What, you think we're a bunch of jerks? Sorry, you'll have to go past the break if you want to read spoilers!

Okay, so let's set the stage first: "The Avengers," as most of you know, is Marvel's attempt to unite all their various franchises into one brain shattering mega-franchise, with "Iron Man"'s Robert Downey, Jr., "Thor"'s Chris Hemsworth and "Captain America"'s Chris Evans all poised to appear together alongside Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury and others in what is sure to be the film event of 2012.

[caption id="attachment_54648" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Marvel"][/caption]

And up to this point it has been assumed that Tom Hiddleston, who menaced Asgard and Earth alike in "Thor" as the evil Norse god of lies, Loki, would be the most serious threat to The Avengers. Sure, there has been talk of the shapeshifting alien race known as the Skrulls, plus there will likely be a fight with Mark Ruffalo's version of The Hulk, but as far as anyone knew, Loki was the big kahuna.

Now, though, Latino Review is reporting that Loki will be joined in his villainy by possibly the greatest menace in the universe of Marvel Comics, the cosmic nihilist Thanos. That sound you hear? Is the sound of millions of brains imploding.

Which is only fitting because Thanos is best known for his slavish devotion to Death itself, with his ultimate goal being the end of reality itself. That may sound like a pretty high bar to aim for, but if you look up Thanos' sleeve, you'll find The Infinity Gauntlet, which allows him to reshape reality to suit his own whim -- and which already make a cameo appearance in "Thor" if you were paying close attention (hint: it was in daddy Odin's vault of evil tchotkes.

Of course, we still don't know yet who will be playing Thanos or how big a role he has in the movie (though we suspect it may be mainly to set up the sequels), but the news will probably be enough to send fans into an early rapture. After all, Thanos is a classic Avengers foe, having been defeated by the team in some of Marvel's most famous comics. And with Marvel having already revealed that they have a long-term plan for their franchises that will potentially culminate in "Avengers 3," it suggests that the entire film universe could be building towards a movie adaptation of "The Infinity Gauntlet," which, 20 years after its publication, remains arguably the most popular storyline the company has ever done.

All we can say is, we hope you have your affairs in order. Because Thanos is coming on May 4, 2012 -- and where Thanos goes, death is sure to follow. May Odin have mercy on our souls.

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